Don’t let the title confuse you, I am not suggesting you attempt to purchase the road you live on. Rather, I am referring to the path of life you have traveled on that brings you to your current station. Some of us have traveled a long and bumpy road filled with potholes of past mistakes. Decisions made consciously or in haste earn us a life lesson seldom learned by others. There is no shame in your path as long as you in deed learned from the errors along the way.

Long ago, I chose to own my road and openly speak of my path in life and how I got to where I am today. Being that I made some poor choices in my youth, I hoped to deter those I came in contact with; those who appeared to be heading in a similar direction. I wanted them to learn there are better paths to take and not to be led around blindly by those seemingly with the right directions.

Be prepared for those who may attempt to use your past as ammunition against your present or even your future. The best way to make their efforts futile is to first present the facts before they have a chance to manufacture their own version. Being forthcoming of yourself, whether it be flaws or strengths, is another positive building block in your character. Too often, some try to hide from their past in fear of what it may do to their reputation. I recently read a great quote: “Worry about your character and not your reputation. Because your character is who you are, and your reputation is only what people think of you.” That is a powerful declaration.

No matter what your past reveals of you, it is a past version of you. What matters most is what you reveal of today’s version of yourself and how you better each passing day. Despite what you have done, God still loves you. If He can forgive a murderer such as Saul of Tarsus and make him the cornerstone of one of the greatest manuals ever gifted to man, you too can be forgiven.

Saul, who became Paul, is responsible for nearly a third of the Bible’s New Testament. If that is not using someone’s greatest weakness to become the worlds strongest proponent of God’s work, I have no other example to offer.

Paul felt the pain of his past. I believe it may have been what he referred to as the thorn in his side that he requested relief from. Yet God left it in place. Paul refused to allow his past to halt his calling and became cemented in history and theology.

Do not allow your past to keep you from exploring a greater future. Drop excuses that you made too many mistakes. We are human. Everyone makes mistakes. It is what we do after we make the mistake that matters. Will you learn from them and take advantage of the life lesson or continue to fall into the pit of it’s despair?

I encourage you to stand up, dust the past off and take God’s lead in your life. You can’t imagine the heights He will take you. You will earn a new road in which you will be happy to own.

James Fansler is Lake Placid police chief. He can be reached at lakeplacidchief@gmail.com .^p